Frank DeTillio’s quarter century as Lorain County Chamber of Commerce has been challenging.
DeTillio, who is retiring at the end of the year, took over in 1988. Rustbelt communities like Lorain County were hit hard as the auto, shipping and steel industries closed or downsized plants and sent jobs out of the country.
“The national economy has a devastating effect on communities like Lorain and Elyria,” DeTillio said Thursday at a retirement party at the Elyria County Club, 41625 Oberlin-Elyria Road, Carlisle Township.
As the job losses were beginning, the Elyria and Lorain chambers of commerce merged in 1987 into a county chamber. “You need regional resources to really be effective,” DeTillio said.
The chamber served as a cheerleader for Lorain County, a clearinghouse for information on development opportunities and a conduit between business and government.
DeTillio said the local chamber, which has about 700 members including Democrats and Republicans, is usually nonpartisan. However, it does back Issue 2, a property tax levy for Lorain County Community College.
DeTillio, 66, is seeking re-election as councilman. But he said serving as councilman and president are too tiring.
A replacement is expected to be named in December, according to Lynn Miggins, chairwoman of the chamber’s 24-member chamber Board of Directors.